Some people can begin a meaningful connection with another person just by making eye contact. In other cases it starts with a firm handshake as a sales rep and a potential customer meet for the first time. The deepest and most lasting connections, however, tend to come through a dialogue between people who share the same challenges and want to brainstorm the best possible ideas. Think of Salesforce Connections, which kicks off this week in Chicago, as a way of doing that on a massive scale.
While there are plenty of conferences and events devoted exclusively to those in commerce-related roles, or marketing or customer service, the reality is that organizations thrive when everyone works as a cohesive team. That’s why Salesforce Connections is designed to break through the silos that often exist within companies and offer a cross-sectional approach to developing ideas for ongoing customer engagement.
The same thing is true across industries. Those in financial services, for instance, may have specific things to think about in terms of regulatory compliance or the kinds of products and services they offer their customers when they’re developing an engagement strategy. Those in retail environments, on the other hand, may feel they’re operating in a completely different world. While there are genuine nuances from one sector to another, there are also a lot of common approaches, and ways those working in distinct markets can learn from one another. Salesforce Connections is about recognizing that too, and encouraging attendees to form relationships with their peers in CPG, manufacturing and health care and life sciences as well.
If you’re among those attending Salesforce Connections over the next few days, there are all kinds of opportunities to learn and grow, both as an individual and in terms of your organization as a whole. Here are just a few ideas on how to make the most of what the conference as to offer.
Whether you’re still en route to Salesforce Connections or have already landed, there are still many different ways to generate ideas for questions to ask speakers and fellow attendees.
We’ve been running an ongoing web series, for example, where some of our top experts have discussed some of the themes that will be addressed in various sessions, as well as a hint of other announcements that will be made. There have also been a series of blog posts with more background on the special guests we’ll be featuring on stage.
Of course, the one thing most of us have already realized about driving engagement in 2019 is that it will probably involve a smartphone at some point, and Salesforce Connections is no exception. If you download the app, you’ll not only be able to manage which sessions you’re attending but also get updates and even win prizes.
Finally, don’t forget to check out the “Trail Maps” we’ve created that suggest some of the best content you’ll want to consume based on your role, organization or sector.
While the more than 450 sessions at Salesforce Connections could keep you busy between now and the end of the event, the Expo hall is not to be missed. After all, maximizing engagement across commerce, marketing and service is not something most organizations will be able to do on their own, so it’s best to think about who’s on site to help.
Whether you schedule meetings at the Expo hall at the conference in advance or simply drop by booths in between sessions, think about some of the following areas to cover off:
Taking part in a major conference or event can be tiring, and of course you’ll want to enjoy some downtime while you’re in Chicago. There are more ways to re-energize yourself than sitting by a hotel swimming pool or having dinner at a fancy restaurant, however — like making a difference in other people’s lives.
As part of a long-standing tradition at Salesforce, we’re partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago to plan a series of events and activities at Salesforce Connections where attendees can help at-risk kids and their families. Don’t overlook the chance to participate in these moments — you’ll find that the most successful Trailblazers look well beyond the bottom line when they think about the value they bring to the communities in which they operate.
What’s a cellist like Yo-Yo Ma doing at Salesforce Connections? Or a broadcaster like Soledad O’Brien, for that matter?
It might be tempting to stick with keynote speakers who look and sound like they’re doing a job similar to your own — or that of your boss, perhaps. Salesforce Connections, however, is all about introducing attendees to the ideas, insights and lessons learned from those from all kinds of backgrounds. The long hours spent practicing as a classical musician, for instance, could spark some new thoughts about the preparation you need to put in as a marketer. A journalist reporting on the front lines of history has probably learned a lot about people skills that could benefit any service professional. The point is to come in with an open mind, being ready to receive wisdom from anyone.
Lastly, make sure you don’t leave Chicago without thinking about how you’ll continue the conversation with some of the other peers you’ll meet in person this week. Salesforce Connections is not just about driving engagement with customers, but staying engaged with your professional community long after you get back to the office.